Five Common Student Pilot Errors

by Josh on April 22, 2012

Sometimes, student pilots can get ahead of themselves and make careless mistakes causing a wide range of trouble. Today, I am going to tell you about the five most common student pilot errors in my opinion. This are for all of you pilots or aviation fans out there because a good pilot is always learning right? Right, a good pilot truly is ALWAYS learning.

Error Number one: Not choosing the right CFI. This is very common out there because a lot of student pilots just want to get in the air any fly without taking the time to talk to a few different CFI’s at the local airport. Just remember that you will be paying this person and spending at least 40+ hours of your life with him or her. Some good things to look for in a CFI, Is he or she full time? You are going to want someone who can be there when you want to fly, somebody who can adapt to your schedule. Another thing to find out is if he or she is a CFII (instrument instructor).  If you plan on getting your instrument rating after becoming a private pilot, already having somebody that you know and trust is a huge advantage because you already know his or her flying style. Finally, someone with a good personality, remember you’re going to spend a lot of time with this person in a tiny little airplane and if you two just don’t get along well than that’s a major problem.

Error number two: Failure to learn both controlled and uncontrolled airport communications. This is a big one also. Just think you just got your private pilots license with the minimum of 3 full stop landings at a controlled airport and you decide to take a trip with your family to a class delta, odds are you’re going to have a hard time talking to the tower and ground. Let me tell you, it is a completely different world with controlled and uncontrolled airports if you only learn at one or the other, you’re going to have a rude awaking  the first time you fly solo into the other.

Error number three: Putting off the written test until just before the check ride. This one just seems like common sense to me. By completing a ground school then taking the written before getting into the airplane for very long, will give you a HUGE advantage over other student pilots. It will not only save you tons of time and money but will give you a jumpstart on your aviation terms and regulations. Best part about it is that once you’ve taken it, you never have to worry about it again. Some CFI’s out there nowadays require that there students take and pass the FAA written test before even getting into the airplane.

Error number four: Rushed Preflight inspections. This error is not only very common but can be very dangerous. Student pilots out there that have 30 or 40 hours down and are about to take their check ride most of the time think to themselves, “Oh, I’ve done this plenty of times, I can just skip this or that,”. No. There is no exceptions on when you can rush trough you’re preflight. That’s the time when you are going to miss something and something is going to go wrong. Especially take your time when its cold out, dark out, or you have passengers on board.

Last but certainly not least, Error number five. Complacency. This ties in with rushed preflight, Student pilots with 20, 30 or 40 hours think that they know everything that they need to know about flying and they just get complacent with everything they do and that’s where they mess up. We just don’t say that a good pilot is always learning for no reason. Its true guys, good pilots really are always learning.  Also low time pilots try to push their personal minimums. You have to learn to say, “I’m not going to fly today, it’s beyond my personal minimums.” It’s good to have high personal minimums. It’s not like you’re never going to fly again. You have to learn when to draw the line. When you become a commercially rated pilot, that puts a whole new spin on things also. When you are getting paid to fly and you know the weather is beyond your personal minimums, it can be very hard to say you’re not going to fly, not only because you aren’t getting paid, but because you are letting people down.

I hope that you’ve learned something from this but more importantly, I hope that you look out for these things next time you go to the airport. We’ve all been guilty of a few of these things a couple times before, but it’s not what happened in the past, it’s the decisions we make as pilots in the future.

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-“Because a good pilot is always learning”

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